Underrated Canadian Heroes

From civil rights activists to mac and cheese

With Canada turning 150 years old this year, we thought what better way to celebrate this beautiful country than by shedding light on some of the people that are often left to the corners of Canadian history, though they have had huge impacts. Here is a list of underrated Canadians.

James Naismith

Basketball was invented by a Canadian, but not in Canada. James Naismith was working as a physical education professor in Springfield, Massachusetts when he invented a crude form of basketball to keep his students busy inside on a rainy day.



Viola Desmond

Viola Desmond stood up for racial segregation at a movie theatre in Nova Scotia in 1946, when she refused to leave a section of the Roseland Theatre that was designated as “whites only.” Desmond passed away in 1965, but her legacy lives on, and in 2018 she will become the first female in Canada to be on the front of a banknote, specifically the 10 dollar bill.


Thomas F. Ryan

Your seventh birthday party would have sucked without Thomas F. Ryan. He invented five-pin bowling in Toronto in 1909 as an alternative to ten-pin, which some people found too strenuous.

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Rachel Zimmerman

From London, Ontario, Rachel Zimmerman was 12 years old when she invented something called a Blissymbol Printer, which is a form of technology that allows individuals with physical disabilities to communicate through symbols on a touchpad that translates into words.

17 Rachel Zimmerman: The Blissymbol Printerr.
It’s a software program invented by a Canadian 12-year-old in the…

Posted by Super Duper Galaxy on Friday, September 9, 2016



James Lewis Kraft

December 11, 1874 is a day that will be celebrated for generations to come, that is the day that James Lewis Kraft was born in Fort Erie, Ontario. He didn’t invent processed cheese, but he won a patent for a processing method that would later become key for Kraft Dinner.


Elizabeth Graham

Montreal goaltender Jacques Plante is often credited for popularizing the goalie mask. New York Rangers’ Andy Bathgate is also given this title, after he wore a goalie mask to cover a broken nose in 1930. However, the first hockey player to wear a goalie mask was actually Queen’s University’s Elizabeth Graham in 1927. Graham wasn’t playing in the NHL, which is probably why her name is often overlooked, but she wore the first goalie mask after her father encouraged her to protect the expensive dental work that she had recently undergone.



Arthur Sicard

The next time you clear your driveway with a snowblower, you can thank Arthur Sicard. In 1894, this Canadian farmer got fed up with his milk going bad every time he tried to make it to the market in a snowstorm. After testing different models and saving up money, Sicard patented the “Sicard Snow Remover Snowblower,” which looks like something out of Mad Max. Of course, the snowblower has gotten smaller since then and is no longer pushed by a truck, but hey, you got to start somewhere.

Image courtesy of Canada Post.

Fernard Lachance

As the legend goes, poutine was invented in 1957 in Warwick, Quebec when Fernard Lachance, a restaurant owner, was asked by a patron named Eddy Lainesse to put a handful of cheese curds on his fries.